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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 29, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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interviewing people, many of whom might do it would teller things that i could remember. it was a challenge. it was difficult. i am encouraged by people to -- by people who keep journals and diaries. >> one last question. >> you are so brave. amazing. i know you for so long. to come up like that, and to do it not only for you, but for the people that come up spending courage. >> i know that you know a precarious. i know because i've known you for so long. i know that what you went
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through. i know of the time that you spent hiding in an attic during world war ii. the bridge is being blown up and the other horrors of war surrounding you. i know what he did, dancing with a broken back at the age of 16. i know lots of things that tell me that you understand courage. so would you say that to the it touches me deeply. ..
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profiles vietnamese leaders and looks at the role of the press and covering the vietnam war. the war ended on april 30th, 1975. this is about 45 minutes to the estimate you're looking at the cover of a new book called "our vietnam: the war, 1954-1975 by a.j. langguth. why did you call your book "our vietnam"? >> there were two memos, one to jack kennedy back in 1961. george bundy was the national security advisor, and he said something along the lines of laos was not hours after the geneva convention of 1954. vietnam is ours and wants to be.
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and then when i was in hanoi last year, a vietnamese compost said to me you americans thought of vietnam was a war, it was our country. and i thought in my mind it in ignorance and arrogance assuming vietnam was never ours. >> [inaudible] in 1954 the french war finally driven out of southeast asia, and at that point, we took over. we became in the view of the north vietnamese the occupying force, so it seemed like a good
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place and then 75 of course is when we had that ignominious retreat from saigon. >> your book talks a lot about people. and you've got a lot of pictures in your book. and combat to the early days of vietnam, we have a picture of dwight eisenhower and john f. kennedy explain the transition between those two presidential administrations and the status of vietnam. >> well, at that point, kennedy had won with a very narrow electoral -- welcome a large electoral victory but a very narrow popular victory. really about one-third of which could turn out to be in this election. so he's aware that he needed legitimacy and he appointed a number of republicans to his cabinet. when he went for the transitional meetings when there were two of them, with eisenhower, both sides were determined to make it pleasant, agreeable, reassure the country that there was no friction because when ike had taken over
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from harry truman there was a lot of bad feeling was the height of that mccarthy kind of name-calling and the rest. so, kennedy showed up with the first time alone got along very well with eisenhower and the the second time with his newly appointed cabinet members including bob mcnamara and the subject of the vietnam never came up, not once. i talked about laos, the little plant clark part of china but didn't mention vietnam. his first week in office kennedy got a long memo from a man named ed of lansdale was a cia representative who had just come back from vietnam and he read it and was appalled and said this is the worst we've got, isn't it? and he said to his advisers might never mentioned vietnam to be. >> what was in the memo? >> it made it clear that the people we had sent to help the
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leader of the self, a man but we were succeeding, that he was facing a lot of opposition from his own people, that he was getting increasingly remote. he was a catholic leader in a largely buddhist country. that if we didn't do something, the communists in the south coming in with some help from the north supplies would have taken over the country. and in the view of that era, that would have been a disaster. we had heard for ten years about the domino theory. if you let one of these countries go, there will be a ripple effect, indochina first and then indonesia, the philippines. who knows, sometimes it would get positive that we would be fighting if we didn't fight and the philippines would be fighting in san francisco. it was that kind of hysteria.
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in retrospect, none of it was true but it was at the time. >> on the other side of the world there was a leader named huji men. who was he? >> she's a fascinating figure. and to answer your question briefly isn't possible because he made a point of mystifying people. he was only one of the many names he used, he was the son of a mandarin commander in however who disliked the french and said that it was an insult to the nationalism of the country. he became early on a communist and sometimes during the war antiwar faction in this country i think misguidedly tried to suggest he was in neutralist, a nationalist rather than an economist, but he was a committed communist. he was also very patient. and willing to wait out first the french and then the americans. it was a tragedy to him that he should be fighting the
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americans. she'd come to this country as a young seaman, long before he got involved in politics. and he had liked america. he thought america was admirable. he used thomas jefferson's the five words from the declaration of independence and his own first statement to his people back in 45. but, apart from everything else, he did not want western powers running a section of his country, the south. he wanted a unified independent vietnam. >> he didn't want western power, but how did he feel about china and the soviet union? >> well, that's what we really misunderstood. he hated that idea even more than the french or the americans because the chinese had occupied vietnam for about a thousand years, even during the height of the war, when he depended on the chinese particularly for manpower to put an antiaircraft installation, he had to persuade his own people that was safe to let large numbers of chinese in,
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because they were sure that if they did, china had never given up its aim to possess vietnam. and so when we thought that somehow passively ho let his country be used as a launching ground, we misunderstood the whole relationship between him and the chinese. >> when you say we do you mean kennedy? >> i mean that all really. kennedy -- kennedy may have had a better sense of this man his advisers. he had gone there to vietnam as a young congressman who furnishing his foreign policy credentials to run against henry cabot lodge in 1952 for the senate. and he recognized as his younger brother went together he recognized how much the french were heated, how difficult it was going to be to be a lightface army in an asian country, and commanding any kind of support. so, he had a lot of skepticism.
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on the other hand, he had won this very narrow victory. he had that awful stumble at the bay of pigs early on. and he felt that he had to persist in vietnam at least until he could get reelected. >> i was going to ask about kennedy's advisers, foreign policy advisers in the cabinet. describes some of the characters that he appointed in his cabinet. >> there were three that emerged. george bundy had been the dean of the faculty at harvard. he was a very quick. i knew she had the quickest mind, it was the date she would say anything and find a way to hit -- he was able to hit on the weakness in any argument. very quick mind. lakner had no background whatsoever in international affairs. he was the first non-ford to
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head the ford motor company. he had gotten that job promotion only six weeks or so by the time of the election. i have spoken to him at some length. he had been very open and generous with his time. and i said to him how could you be making some of the decisions you made when you had no background in foreign affairs? he said well, you know, dean acheson, the whole republican and democratic foreign policy establishment said we had to hold on to south vietnam and so i would do it for them. i would find a way to do it. and then the third person, and the one who i think perhaps in my view at least is the most culpable is dean rusk because she was representing that part of our government that should have been looking for a negotiated settlements somewhere short of the war and for a variety of reasons, his own
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personality, his experience during the korean war, when he felt he hadn't been predicting that the chinese would come over the border and fight us, he was very timid. and yet rigid. time and again these various dealers would come from the north saying to get weak results this and he was always sure it was a trick. he was convinced far longer than most observers that russia and china were not. that if there was this suggestion that somehow they were at each other's throats or could be that was just a trick and i think that he was a very mediocre man. specter did kennedy listened to the most out of those? >> i would suspect in a funny way he listened to all of them, but didn't trust the political instinct. he had a much stronger sense of
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what the congress would do. all three of these men were not very politically sophisticated. he entertained letters from kenneth galbraith and he was writing to a harvard graduate she is a really keen insight into what was wrong and what was going on. but as mcnamara said, these were just letters, these were not policy positions. kennedy would take and material from anywhere. if you were just back from a trouble spot he would sit down with you and want to hear everything. when johnson came to office he didn't have that same interest in foreign affairs but he was of course patchen about domestic matters. >> to finish on the kennedy administration what was the prevailing public opinion about vietnam during kennedy, does the
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public know about vietnam, was it on the radar screen? >> early on not much and he tried to keep it off because of the one hand he wanted to do the minimal effort to keep it in the western camp. on the other hand he didn't want a lot of publicity about that and that was a part of when the press position scott plays tennis with in the sea and with a government. i would say that he -- and it's one of those what if questions. i think that if he had lived he would have gotten out as he told some of his political lead pfizer's. someone like dean rusk who wasn't a confidante who would say years later when he spent a lot of time with kennedy and never heard him say he was going to get out of the vietnam win or lose an early 65 that's true because he was sent by a sort of person kennedy would have taken into his confidence even though
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the casualties were low at that point it's attractive to say i'm going to keep the war going to get myself reelected. that is pretty cynical statement, and yet that all three of the president's made that decision. >> in fact you mention that in your book that i was part of his goal for the reelection to have a victory in vietnam. >> he wanted to keep it on the back burner. of course the overtook that. because the buddhists rebelled against him. some of the older set themselves on fire. those pictures for horrifying to the american public and all of a sudden, a country that had no interest to us as readers became fascinating because what are we doing there? why were we becking a man who was apparently setting themselves on fire in protest, so picked at a time that kennedy
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would have preferred of course and then they had the today dhaka in saigon just three weeks or so the car before kennedy himself was assassinated and some of this training of squall during transfer power by a lot of military people in the south and we never had a chance of rebuilding the country it seems to me after that time. >> what about the reporters that were in vietnam, some of the earlier names that you mentioned, he was with "the new york times". what was their role in the early days of the vietnam covering it? >> i think what people tend to forget, and i certainly wasn't aware of it when i first went in 1964 was that there had been a total censorship, and then the second world war and during korea where they couldn't print things the military didn't want exposed. you get to vietnam and is a
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totally different circumstance for one thing. people were coming in from all over the world and you couldn't control them as easily. the technology, television was now a factor. and as a result, there was no censorship. there were some guidelines. and as the military particularly that was used to the compliant press was distressed to find that people enterprising reporters who was just a terrific reporter had learned to the current two pulitzers for his reporting from korea and david halberstam -- >> who is this on the picture? he was in world war ii? >> yes, and korea. >> for "the new york times"? >> he won his pulitzer from the tribune. >> by the time sent him to vietnam he was with "the new york times" and he hated being
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back and counted the days until he could get away. >> did you know them? >> quite well. >> were you in vietnam? >> i was in '64 and '65 to the spec with capacity? >> a southeast asia correspondent and a chief for "the new york times" and i can tell you you are asking about the public and how much this showed up on the radar screen. the stories i filed back in '64 would appear on page five or seven or nine. as soon as we send troops in the marines to the 65, the stories went to the front page and they never left. then they were committed. estimate and that was johnson, johnson dealing with vietnam. >> he always felt during those years as vice president happy years for him that there was too much emphasis being put on the nation-building. we should just go in and when
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this war. kennedy sent him over there on the goodwill trip and he knew the sister-in-law and was fascinated with her. she was a beautiful, attractive and heartless woman would and zimm praised as the george washington of his country excessive praise. this was 62 he was very determined, but he felt himself a junior partner in this administration. he was impressed with the certitude of people like bundy ann benner -- lakner when kennedy was assassinated it felt to him and he decided to things. one is every president had that about not being the first president to lose a war. american never lost one and he wasn't going to be the first but
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there's something else, too. he felt strongly about the civil rights legislation that had been introduced under kennedy. we can't look in other people's hearts but it seems to me that he felt more for the disenfranchised people of color, the poor than kennedy had. this is his main interest. his interests were foreign affairs. johnson fought if he were to level with the american public about the long struggle ahead, his opponents in the congress would use that as a way of scuttling domestic programs. he felt he had a narrow window of opportunity. the emotion and leased by jack kennedy's assassination, the good will in 1964 election against barry goldwater. he could come in and he could get this cornerstone that the
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society laden at first year, year and a half. he didn't have much time and the vietnam wasn't going to rely on them and so he made a decision, series of decisions that were in retrospect, impossible in the democracy he tried to struggle the war pass to the american people and thought somehow maybe we could just keep it aloft and he could get his domestic programs through. >> how did he get that idea? was that his own idea, was that his advisers, what did robert mcnamara say about that? >> he had a lot of expertise, but it was in the question of number crunching analysis, not political. mcnamara is probably still as a political a person who has ever held a large portion of power and washington. >> know, these were his own instincts.
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she knew he had been the senate majority leader and a ferociously effective one after all. and he knew the allies in the party who were from a much more military mind than his own she didn't have much respect for the joint chiefs. he had seen them squabbling among themselves, but he knew that his allies, and of course especially his opponents in congress, would seize on any weakness about vietnam. if he had tried to say he probably could have gotten away with it with the american public with the goodwill he generated. if only in 65 he had said given the breakdown of the administration and south vietnam, we have done our best, we always said that it was up to those boys to fight their own of war and they can't do it and we are writing off, nothing would have collapsed media cambodia or laos they were going to go
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sooner or later in the way the rest of the world would have survived. in fact the rest of the world would agree a sigh of relief because it was clear to a lot of people we were getting into the radical, but that wasn't his sense of it. his sense of you have to do just enough so there wouldn't be attention on it and he could get his domestic program test. >> in hindsight and congressional leaders like mike mansfield who comes up a lot in europe and senator fulbright who were the hawks and where the doves, the major players? >> mansfield toward kennedy or early on that it was a lost cause, and this was partial to hear from mansfield because he had been one of the catholics with kennedy who had helped to install him in office and he had been quite a backer of this man that he went over in 61 and came back and said, you know, it's not working. it's not working with zimm.
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he's different from the one we knew in 54. and kennedy has gotten furious with him which was unlike kennedy. he liked free exchange debate and he told kennedy o'donnell, one of his aides later i got so angry because i knew that probably mike was right. but, you see, mansfield put loyalty to the party and to the president's goal of speaking his mind, and so he has these memos to with kennedy and johnson. he doesn't speak out. that's a more interesting case in many ways because without going through the whole content business, he ran that through the senate at johnson's behest. the cynics say he thought he would be finally secretary of state. it was the role he always wanted and he knew that roskam would be
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weak and probably thought after the election making him secretary of state, so in 1964 before the election he helped to get the tonkin gulf resolution through. the problem is that rusk, who had been so neglected and even ridiculed by the robert kennedy wing of the white house under jack kennedy, he had a resurgence under johnson. johnson felt he hadn't been taken seriously, and he felt rusk -- people who watched said his accent got more southern month by month when he was dealing with lyndon johnson. so, fulbright turned and saw the error of what we were doing and became one of the leading influential critics and it's at
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that point that lyndon johnson stopped talking about him as my secretary of state and started talking about him as precentor. >> you talk about the bundy brothers, in particular george bundy. it allows more of his brother william bundy. what was his role? >> william bundy was the older brother and it irritated him that he was oftentimes thought to be the younger brother because his position wasn't as eminent. this deck which brother? >> bill. she died months ago not long ago. >> he joined the cia in the early 50's and moved back-and-forth between the state department and the agency's. at the crucial moments, he was the ssc assistant secretary of state for far eastern affairs,
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and he was influential, but by that time the decision making had passed and he was meeting for lunches with johnson. he wavered back-and-forth and have a moment of clarity he saw we should get out. but as soon as rusk and mcnamara told him it won't wash. he went back to his office and fought it over and decided to get back on the team. we cannot overemphasize and it's hard to understand from outside of that circle once you have been anointed to one of the president's inner confidants you don't want to give that up and so you watch people struggling with their doubts and questions even someone like george wall who has emerged as a hero
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because of memos that he wrote that were very smart he never went to break, he never wanted to be so held in front that he stopped giving the white house invitations even after he left government service. the one who did that who showed a courage i think is walter wegmann. walter lippmann is a communist. in 64, 65, charles de gaulle was right you couldn't do any better than south viet nam than the french had been able to do and he wrote to the effect of johnson hounded him out of washington. >> you talk about the importance of being in the president's circle and once an aide was in that circle wanting to preserve that, does that apply to the military leaders that are involved in vietnam, the u.s. military leaders one in particular to ask about this general william westmoreland.
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>> there's a different fte have a different constituency after all, and in the case of west berlin, it was more important to johnson that he had was marland's approval than vice versa because if as he was trying to escalate in small doses, you have a picture. >> he looked as mcnamara said exactly the way a general should, whether this is, whether they fought in the way is in the matter but he certainly looked right. johnson was concerned that at any given point westmorland could become to him what douglas macarthur had been to carry truman where she would challenge the way president was conducting the war and allowed him to conduct the war and so when he would meet he would say you're not going to paul a. macarthur
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on me are you? because that had been a huge raft when macarthur argued for his own basic foreign policy and the president had to fire him to show who was in charge. the joint chiefs were so divided among themselves on the way to prosecute the war and the squabbling that mcnamara who was a terrific ballplayer, the kind of person that slaps the table and commands of their room was able to keep them squabbling at day and he says at one point something i found a very significant, johnson is fretting about the war and about what he can and can't do and he says was the chief want? and mcnamara says to you tell me what you want and i will get the chief. i will keep them in mind that you first have to tell me what you want and that is what he did
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and what a great deal of success, and i think the military academies now when they look at this whole story one of the lessons i hear they are learning is you better be prepared to speak up and not be stifled if you feel as strongly as they felt. but the joint chiefs were arguing for which was harsh bombing and going into cambodia and laos those were good strategies i have no doubt, because when nixon and then played them and said i'm going to give the chief now what they've been wanting under johnson, it didn't change the outcome of the war. >> did a lot of information coming to the joint chiefs and the president come into question in terms of the numbers in vietnam and the truth, described some of those states. >> well, the problem falls into
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i think two different categories one is under zimm. he didn't want to fight. he wanted his troops to keep him in power. there had been the coup d'etat, all kinds of attacks on him in the palace. and what was important was the loyalty of his commanders not that the fight. i think in fact he felt if he could just wait out the communists, the south would get so discouraged by not having major victory state they might in fact with their way and i'm sure that it wouldn't have happened but that was his strategy. so, as a result, he encouraged his men to avoid casualties and avoid contact. they almost had an agreement in a lot of the provinces of the communists don't attack us, they knew where we were, they could have engaged, but they did not. but they would send back to the palace these exaggerated claims
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of victory and for the first three years of the administration one of mcnamara accepted those rather uncritically. when people tried to see she might the get them a little more carefully he rejected that because basically he wanted to give kennedy but kennedy wanted to have and that was the sense that progress was being made. there was one element. then, however, once zimm was overthrown and johnson came into office, they wanted more accurate information. but it still had to show the victory. it still had to show progress, so in the field this was a problem as a young reporter you go to a battle site and you would see the casualties. you come back to saigon and here are the official reports. the official report was maybe twice the number of communists
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and you knew that happened. as if you are writing as i was for the newspaper of record he would quote with the government said and then the next paragraph would be observers on the scene, however, said undercut that claim. >> was your editor in new york -- >> never had trouble. >> in the beginning didn't some reporters have trouble with that? >> in the beginning, yes. there was a difference i think in the beginning in new york they were still thinking that the government was telling the truth and they were not aware of the problems that halberstam worse so aware of and if the embassy was relying on just faulty information. so, occasionally he would get a correspondent dropping in from in the case of marguerite higgins, and she tended to
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accept uncritically with the embassy was telling and they would file stories that were at such odds with halberstam and milled around the local reporters there all the time got a lot of heat, but by the time i was there, it was pretty well known on every desk of the lawyers and the newspapers that the government statistics were likely to be cooked. >> you talk about one reporter named peter arnett and an incident if i remember correctly he was punched in the face and david halberstam came to his rescue. tell the story what happened. >> he is a tough guy coming and you've probably seen him because he has continued on to have a remarkable career. >> what was his assignment in the vietnam? >> he was with the ap and quite a young man. during all of the people of the buddhists and the street fights and zimm's brother had secret police and they were harassing
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reporters. telling the truth about what was going on. and yes, at one point, our net -- arnett got punched in the face from and how burstein who was maybe a foot taller than the vietnamese secret police started to shout something you don't want listeners to here and said get out of here or i will. and they did. they ran away and he picked up arnett and they survived. >> how hard did the reporters were even yourself have to fight for information? >> they had to fight a lot because as soon as is the lamb was overthrown there was a new ball game. it wasn't necessarily a better one, but it was different. there was and the connivance between the embassy and the palace. so there was a lot more
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information. but you always wanted to -- you always had to be alert to the fact that you couldn't take anything on the trust. you had to verify everything because there were so many rumors, so many people playing the double game it turned out one of time magazine's correspondence, a very highly regarded vietnamese was a colonel in the north vietnamese army, and i have seen him on these trips back for the book. he would take information that he got and he would go into the jungle and dropped off for the communists. and we all knew she was very well connected and we knew that he had sources of information a lot of other people didn't but no one suspected that he was a colonel in the enemy army. >> let's go back to state site in america. i think that we have gotten through most of johnson.
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in 68 did president johnson not run because of the vietnam do you think? >> i think there are a lot of things that were coming together for him. he held quite a serious heart attack. he had a strong streak of self pity so that when he was jumped on for the war policies, he would complain that everybody was against him, the world was against him. also, 68 was a time of great upheaval in the streets. martin luther king had been assassinated, robert kennedy, the black communities were exploding with rage and frustration. johnson felt he had some great deal in the communities and instead of as yet it expected being a illini nist, he was being attacked. so you combine that with the tet
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offensive and that had offensive of a sudden after westmorland weeks before had said there was light at the end of the tunnel we were winning. all of a sudden all over the country exploded with communists assault. >> what date? >> march of 68. and he -- johnson summoned to washington his wise men, the people he counted on from outside of government like dean acheson and others and these were people that supported the war the whole time when he would bring them to washington they would say you have to keep doing what you're doing and this time that a defensive, actually was february, the aftermath, it went on for a month and in the it took a month to get the communists subdue them out of control, they said it's not
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working and then he was aghast. he thought somebody had poisoned the well and insisted on issuing the briefing that they had got because he couldn't believe that they had turned around so totally. george bundy who had left by that time summarized for the group what their conclusions were and the conclusions were you better find a way to get out because to keep pulling men and money in it isn't going to achieve success. he put all that together and he laughed surprises, so at the end of his speech on vietnam, not the state of the union but a speech to the nation, he pulled out his pocket these paragraphs that said i will not because i have to get all of my attention to peace. i will start the peace initiative and i will not be a candidate. >> we have a picture for
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march 31st 1968. is that the day of the speech when he announced he was going to run? >> at first she was accelerated. he had suppressed for a buddy and he had shown his critics that he was a man of principle and nobody had anything like this and the presidents like surprises, it's kind of strange to me but they love dowsing people and the heat leeks said he had done at. but then he was stuck with this decision and was hard for him to give up power. so the question on whether accepting humphrey has the nominee of the party, but he really did everything he could do to elect humphrey or not i think he did not yet i think that he had some opportunities that could have pushed humphrey over the edge and by that time
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he was matt dimare's replacement at the defense department looking on and he wondered whether in his heart of hearts she really wanted humphrey or whether there would be some indication by having mix and elected and to see how nixon feared with the war. >> we have a couple minutes left and i did want to talk about the nixon and the ford administration because they are part of your book that take us through the 1975 marker. nixon hadn't and a did you talk and that in our book. henry kissinger. in a few paragraphs decide to leave could describe where did he come from and what was his influence over nixon? >> it was and remains a fascinating figure, a refugee from nazi germany, very bright, extremely ambitious, and there's a story that they kept him out of the kennedy administration
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and had known him from harvard because he felt he was a self promoter and not enough team player. but he won the post of national security adviser. he would deny this and in fact i have the denial in my book but it's really because he went to paris claiming to be a friend of the democrats, talked at length to ann and daniel davidson uzi anitere -- who is an attorney here and was back from public telephones called the nixon camp and gave them advice on how to deal with the peace going on. >> others had said that he didn't really get much information because he gave the impression of being an insider for the democrats the were willing to try their trust for nixon, and course that ranked high in mix and's your judgment
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said he was paid off for one might say that the trail becoming the national security adviser to nixon, and he was good at working the press, at separating himself from axson's policies even when we know now from the record he was one of the principal advocates of the policies, but if they tended to seem to backfire, he knew how to go above georgetown and suggest that he wasn't the one responsible for these things. >> did nixon escalate and what happened to ken booya and laos under nixon? >> he wound it down in vietnam. he layered the secretary of defense under nixon and has a lot of -- can't take a lot of credit for that because he had political instincts and had been a congressman and he knew that the public just wasn't going to
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permit. nixon wanted to get the ground troops off and continue to supply air cover for the south vietnamese and hope that somehow the south vietnam could still stand. the paris peace talks later told the principal communist negotiators said to the american delegation you couldn't win with 550,000 of your men. how do you possibly think you are going to win without them, which of course was the unanswerable question. >> how about ford when he came in after -- >> she had no role. we were out on the ground. conagra's had made it very clear they were not going to back any sort of substantial support any further. ford could just preside over the final collapse and then martin, the ambassador in saigon was
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blind and about the eminence of the collapse and so we didn't do the preparing that we could have done that would have led to an orderly withdrawal. the communists had no desire to see us flee out of there and panic we estimate we have a picture from the u.s. embassy in saigon. april 29, 1975. >> of the day before the final collapse. it's heartbreaking, because we had promised -- you know, we had been there a long time. we had promised these men and women from the south to the throne and with us if the state ever came we would help them and we would be irresponsible for them and instead of that there was a refusal to plan and it was just pandemonium and we left
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behind all kinds of people. on sunday night to the reporter from the south was picked up that day following that photo and he spent an extra 13 years and an education campaign is basically a slave labor camp. >> as a journalist, is this the story of the 20th century? >> well, i think we have to be careful about that sort of drinking. in the century that has holocaust come any century that has the dropping of the atom bomb those are big stories. it certainly is i think a story that is going to torment america for a long time because the further we get, the harder it is to answer that question why were we there? the panic about communism, the sense that it was a model that was going to overrun the world
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now with what we know seems even more improbable even more fantastical. stat another hard question why did you want to write this book? >> everybody who is there as a reporter has the survivor's guilt if you've written a little butter or accurately or little more forcefully, you could have somehow kept the country out of this fiasco. now that's nonsense, but it is the sense that one has that he's got to make amends and one way to do it is to go to the north, talk to the people on the other side that we hadn't known and find out as much as you could for the united states. >> the book is "our vietnam: the war, 1954-1975. bye a.j. langguth, also known as
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jack, published by simon and schuster. thank you. >> thank you very much for having me.
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>> before we get into the book i thought i would say a few words about media matters for those of you that are not familiar with it and we would like you to be familiar with it. the organization in 2004 to monitor and analyze and correct conservative misinformation in the media we are basically trying to solve two problems. one was the rise of explicitly right-wing media over the past 20 to 25 years. we all know what that is. places like the washington times, most of talk radio and force the fox news channel. and those media institutions were operating with total impunity and zero accountability. before media matters came along to shine the light on what was
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going on in those institutions. so that was half of the problem. the other half of the problem was the mainstream media and it was and continues to be under conservative attack from the organized right. the effect of that is that to avoid the liberal media bias the press all too often bends over backwards to accommodate the conservative demand would see that in the balance of the op-ed pages and we also see that in the kind of cable debate that we see and in various other places the media so we were also trying to address that and when we started it really wasn't an organization that had built the professional way for people other than the right man to have their concerns addressed correctly in the media. and so, part of what we encourage folks to do is engage with the action tools.
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the research is across a broad range of issues from shlaes to lt vt issues to climate change. we have a staff working 24/7 in offices on capitol hill and they are documenting every day and pushing back against various forms of what we consider to be conservative misinformation and we would like you to engage in not with us, check out our web site at mediamatters.org. with that, one of the things we do at media matters is we watch fox so you don't have to. [laughter] and watching fox over the last few years, we noticed something. the original model of fox seems to be putting the of conservative box retial on tv is something into the call me dangerous i would say they are dangerous and to something more dangerous into a political operation a hard core partisan
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operation under the false flag of journalism of the phrase fair and balanced. it has many elements that we explore in the book and there are elements that one doesn't normally see in the media even in the conservative media. and that ranges from the raising of money from the candidates both on the fox air and off. we all know that fox is a powerful deliver of the republican message, and also involved in mobilization. there are actively involved in the tea party protests of april, 2009 as the document in the book. with that i want to turn this over to talk a little bit more about why we got into this book and how we worked on it and with the execution was like. thanks. >> this book i read as a david and i are the authors on the cover but you will notice to be put command media matters, but the reason we did that is
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because -- is the microphone on? the reason we did that is this work is based on our research staff companies and research staff who had analyzed it and correct this information who dug into it and their work is so fundamental to our book that all of them, you know, the authors this is a group effort. foothill decorah of the book that was leaked to us inside of the fox news that show the network manipulating coverage, and i want to read you the opening of for not what you see on the air but the management of how fox news the caves and i will read that right now. august 2nd, 2,009 on the fly and crystals are ready somewhere in the middle of the training and fox news washington, d.c. editor rose to address the supporters of bill stelle kawlija conservative institution just
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located over 100 miles west of detroit. his audience paid between 11,800 to $37,600 per couple in the lineup of conservative journalists and scholars as they travel to athens. he was the featured speaker and began with joking remarks speculating the conservative mary matalin who was on board of the ship simply on vacation might have missed you easily arranged to have her husband james carville along to save his ideological soul. then he made a startling admission. and here's what he said. you know, speaking of a shift, last year, can date barack obama still on the sidewalk in toledo ohio and spoke to joe the plumber he wanted to, quote, spread the wealth around. at the time, i have to admit that i went on tv on fox news and publicly engaged in what i guess was rather mysterious speculation about whether barack obama really advocate socialism, the premise that i privately sound far-fetched. at the time he made these
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mysterious speculations' come he was fox news's washington deputy editor and was his job -- it was his job to oversee reporting on the news of the country's major cable networks. yet here in front of a friendly audience on a luxury cruise an ocean away from the united states commission as candidly nonchalantly admitting to conspicuously misrepresenting the ideology of the presidential candidate to the audience. e-mails the time written by sam and any talks producer showed that the calculated smear against obama will set in on your slip, the part of a coordinated campaign of deception, not only is he personally a permanent work to make the charges against barack obama, but he also sent e-mails to journalists to work for him encouraging them to cover the candidates racial obsessions into the connections of marxism and we have the e-mails in the book if you are interested in reading them, so i'm not going to bother you with reading the e-mails. less than 90 minutes later she was on fox is engaging in a mischievous speculation claiming that barack obama was, "from the
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marxist as he was the liberals and joined the socialists by his admission of the young man. the next morning, he appeared on the network morning show to reiterate this far-fetched theories about obama's marxism and racial of sessions. the show producers revealed the entire ferre segment built around the e-mail and you can see those in the book. as simon spoke of the graphics appear on the lower section of the screen read the real barack obama aligned with marxists and socialists. obama's radical past, close friends, obama's closest friends, and structural. the same day he published a piece claiming that obama lost charge of socialism but himself acknowledges he was drawn to the socialists and even marxists. it was a peculiar amount of attention for something he really didn't believe particularly since the information was newsworthy. the contemporary political relevance of obama's candidates early years as described in dreams of my father which was
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published in 1995 had been formally covered by the press including by simon himself in a book published a year earlier a week before election day out of context quotes a major breaking story on fox news. the point is you have the head of news operations on the network from a liberal or conservative, no matter what your ideology is a few or a journalist, your fundamental job is to seek out the truth. and here you have somebody that can charge the fox broome admitting nonchalantly that he went on the air and said the information to his audience he did it believes was true and that forms the core story of fox. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. ..

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